The Lessons of Spring

 

The vernal equinox marks the beginning of longer, brighter days. Spring’s extra daylight has the power to change us in positive ways. We feel more optimistic and resilient; just as plants turn to capture the light of the sun, we humans also depend upon and crave sunlight for our mental and physical well-being.

As light begins to shine brightly once more and birds, insects and animals emerge, and plants and flowers begin to bloom, it is indeed a time of renewal. Spring is a time for us to embark on new journeys and start new projects with fresh ideas. As we ponder the tiny leaflets on each tree, let us also allow that optimism to guide our own re-emergence, resilience and growth.

Form, Function, Fun!

Our new playground installation at the Kent

This project presented a rare opportunity to create a very cool outdoor play space designed entirely for children-  Complete with specialized and locally built equipment for running, climbing, sliding and getting the wiggles out- even a custom treehouse, a perfect space for immersive play. From the bouncy suspension bridge to the mysterious tunnel, the tower slide to the right-sized seating- this hidden playground at The Kent, Extell’s new residential project at 200 East 95th Street was conceived and built to be thoroughly enjoyed by the most discerning users in the world- kids.

Parents too will appreciate the variety of play spaces, where everything has been thoughtfully designed to appeal to active, energetic kids. While highly usable, as embodied by the climbing wall and treehouse, the safety flooring and surfaces throughout ensure that the space is both fun and secure. The hand-painted birch trunks and suspension bridge traversing a moat are just two elements that help this project to stand out- this was an especially fun and fulfilling project to be involved with.

Also notable in this project: Synthetic geo-mounds and turf, modular concrete planters, poured-in-place safety flooring, sentry tower with escape slide, custom built treehouse hideaway, irrigation, lighting, plantings.

Best Of Year Award Winner 2018 !

Interior Design Magazine has announced their Best of Year awards and we are thrilled to announce that our project at 151 West 42nd Street has won the Corporate Office Cafeteria category. The aptly named Garden Room features our custom floor-to-ceiling living wall. This impressive curved green wall boasts 12 species and 20 varieties of plants totaling over 2,200 individual green plants, filling every inch of the nearly 1,000 square foot space.

Brilliance Lighting Award !

325 Kent Ave is a residential building that is part of the larger Domino Sugar site being developed by Two Trees Management, Inc. The building has a noticeable ‘hole’ in the center- a playful nod to the ubiquitous ‘Sugar’ donut. The building was designed by Ismael Levya Architects, while the interiors were developed by Leeser Architecture. Blondie’s Treehouse, Inc built all three main exterior amenity spaces.

The Courtyard is 9900 SF. A central, rectilinear dry-bed leads through a random planting of large Shade trees, ferns and perennials and ends at a blackened steel water feature. The water spills into a reflecting pool that features a 12’ tall sandstone sculpture by Lluis Lleo. Two thirty foot built-in benches flank the deck that surrounds the end of the reflecting pool.

The 16th Floor has two terraces that are nearly mirror images. At roughly 3000 SF, one of the terraces functions as an entertainment space with a built in kitchen and seating, while the other features a flush deck that acts as an outdoor yoga classroom.

The 17th Floor Roof deck is approximately 5000 SF and comprises distinct usage areas, including a 40’ long kitchen and bar area, picnic spaces, North and South lounges, conversational clusters and a raised garden of steppable plants and lounge chairs under shade trees. Blondie’s Treehouse, Inc. fabricated all of the architecture above the waterproofing membrane- including the custom kitchen, planters, edging, stairs, decking, lounges and benches.

Blackened Steel, ipe, rectangular pavers and linear lighting appear throughout the spaces.

 

Plants + Retail

Effective plant design in shopping malls and retail environments have several strong functions to offer. Plantscaping can emphasize the character of the mall and help create an atmosphere that shoppers enjoy. The presence of greenery makes shopping centers more appealing to customers creating an enjoyable shopping experience. Plants are also known to reduce noise levels which can be important for busy retail destinations. From directing foot traffic to providing shoppers with an inviting place to relax between shopping visits, plants are an integral part of the selling environment.

“Retailers have long understood the importance of store environment in enhancing the shopping experience. The outdoor landscape can be a seamless extension of shop interiors, providing indoor/outdoor continuity for a positive shopping experience. Urban forestry can play an important role in business districts. Interior plants and landscape may create store interiors more favorable for retail activity.” (Ref: “Retail and Urban Nature: Creating a Consumer Habitat”, K.L.Wolf, at the People/Plant Symposium, Amsterdam, 2002).